Ethan Norof

NBA Fantasy Mailbag

print article archives RSS

Monday Mailbag: Cavs in 7?

Sunday, June 11, 2017


Question 1 from Jackson T. in Cleveland, Ohio: Now that my Cavs have forced at least Game 5, do you sense there could be a Game 7 on the horizon?

 

There’s a natural comparison to be made given the position Cleveland found itself in last season, but that Warriors team—the historic roster that won 73 games and looked positioned to win it all—did not include Kevin Durant. In other words, not all 3-1 leads are created equal.

 

Before we talk about Game 7, we should probably focus on Game 5 in what will be an intense Oracle Arena environment. The Cavs put on the performance of the year in order to save their season with an NBA Finals record 86 first-half points in Game 4, but banking on replicating that kind of offensive explosion, especially on Golden State’s home floor, is about as wise as Ron Burgundy choosing milk on a painfully hot day. 

 

The Cavs shot a ridiculous 24-of-45 (53.3%) from distance in their only win of the series, while the Warriors managed an uncharacteristic 11-of-39 (28.2%) from downtown, including a fluke-like 4-of-18 combined showing from Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving also combined for 94 points on an efficient 33-of-63 (52.4%) shooting, meaning the Big 3 scored 74% of the 137 points Cleveland hung on the board. There’s no doubt we’re getting the playoff versions of James and Irving, but it’s awfully difficult to rely on this formula and make history in the process.

 

I’m not providing these numbers to say that a comeback is impossible, but in LeBron’s own words, the Warriors have more “firepower” than any other team he’s ever faced. It’s incredibly difficult to envision a scenario where Golden State blows this particular 3-1 lead, even if we manage to somehow get a do-or-die Game 7 scenario.

 

Editor’s Note: Introducing FanDuel Mixup, the newest way to play FanDuel Baseball. Smaller lineups, so you can draft your team on the go, plus fun themes every week! Play now.

 

Question 2 from Morgan B. in Temecula, California: Assuming the Lakers do go ahead and draft Lonzo Ball, how does that impact D’Angelo Russell? Jordan Clarkson?

 

There sure has been a lot of noise around the Lakers, but only a muted whisper is coming out of Los Angeles.

 

For some reason, there has been an assumption that Ball’s arrival would mean Russell and/or Clarkson’s departure, but it’s just not that simple given the uncertain construction of this roster.

 

In playing out the scenario where Ball dons the purple and gold, why, exactly, can’t Russell slide to shooting guard—a move many think is overdue—and Clarkson stay in his sixth man role? In this construct, not only can the Lakers continue to evaluate the best short and long-term fits for each player, but the trio can also all get minutes at both guard spots, and that’s especially important given the lack of current depth in the backcourt. Russell is still loading on his rookie deal, Clarkson is locked into a solid value contract and there’s no rush to trade either at a discount. For now, Los Angeles needs to hoard as much talent as possible in order to strike when the iron is hot.

 

Question 3 from Ashley M. in Atlanta, Georgia: I hope the Hawks re-sign Paul Millsap, but I’m concerned about the ceiling of this team. Can Atlanta take the next step while staying committed to this core?

 

This is a really important question that Atlanta’s decision-makers need to be asking themselves.

 

As a team that has lucrative multi-year commitments to Dwight Howard, Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore—with Millsap slated to get paid—Atlanta needs to decide if its content with the ceiling of this roster being a good regular season club.

 

The Hawks can’t really get anything meaningful in a potential Dwight Howard trade, Schroder’s inconsistency paired with occasional outbursts makes him difficult to project and Bazemore struggled to adjust to his new role in 2016-17. After willingly waving goodbye to Al Horford, it doesn’t sound like Atlanta is prepared to do the same with Millsap.

 

So where do the Hawks go from here? It’s not as easy to answer, as it is to ask.

 

Question 4 from Jack S. in Detroit, Michigan: Can the Pistons really win with Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson as two of their highest-paid players?

 

The short answer: I don’t think so.

 

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a lock to break the bank in (restricted) free agency this summer, and just about everything Stan Van Gundy has ever said about KCP provides the indication that he’ll be back in the fold. Assuming neither Drummond nor Jackson is traded away, the Pistons could have upwards of $70M committed to Tobias Harris, Caldwell-Pope, Jackson and Drummond for next season alone. There isn’t a single superstar in the mix—though Drummond committing himself to the process of fulfilling his potential could quickly change that—and this is a Detroit roster that was very much a disappointment this time around.

 

Question 5 from Justin B. in Manhattan, New York: Are there any lottery-bound teams that you think will shake up the NBA Draft process on June 22?

 

Philadelphia 76ers: If Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball are selected first and second as expected, the Sixers could realistically go with Josh Jackson, De’Aaron Fox or Jayson Tatum in this spot.

 

Phoenix Suns: The Suns are going to be awfully tempted to take De’Aaron Fox if he’s available here, and like so many of Phoenix’s recent moves, going that route would provide more questions than answers about the end game in Phoenix. I could also see the Suns going with Jayson Tatum if Fox is off the board, leaving Jackson to potentially slide into Sacramento’s lap.

 

Sacramento Kings: With two picks inside the top 10, the Kings are officially a player at the table. 



Follow Ethan Norof on Twitter @Ethan_Norof for more fantasy basketball analysis, advice and all things Los Angeles Lakers.
Email :Ethan Norof



Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    Silva: Week 14 Matchups

    Silva: Week 14 Matchups
  •  
    Dose: Kamara injured in loss

    Dose: Kamara injured in loss
  •  
    Dose: Will Stafford Play?

    Dose: Will Stafford Play?
  •  
    Rankings: Patriots Ascend

    Rankings: Patriots Ascend
  •  
    Waivers: Chase Goodwin, Barber

    Waivers: Chase Goodwin, Barber
  •  
    Dose: Book of Eli Opens

    Dose: Book of Eli Opens
  •  
    Dose: Smith

    Dose: Smith's Time is Ticking
  •  
    Silva: Week 13 Matchups

    Silva: Week 13 Matchups